The Portlaoise Aware support group for mental health hopes a new time for meetings will encourage more people to avail of the help offered.
The meeting will now take place at the slightly later time of 7.45pm every Tuesday in the Portlaoise Parish Centre.
Aware support group meetings are a free and very effective option for people who are experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. The Portlaoise group is free to attend and no referral is needed.
Rosemary Carvill, Aware’s local Support Group Co-ordinator, hopes that the new time will be more convenient for local people. She said that while people can be reluctant to try a support group, those who do attend are often very pleasantly surprised at how helpful they find the meetings at the centre which is located beside St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Portlaoise.
“I think sometimes there is a fear that the support meeting will be all ‘doom and gloom’ or that it will make you feel worse than you already do. But that is so far from the truth; it can be really helpful to learn from others who have walked a similar path with depression and to look at helpful actions you can take that can make a difference. There’s lots to be learned at the Aware support groups and it can be very life-affirming.”
Aware offers support groups in 39 locations nationwide and each year the network of nationwide groups receives more than 12,600 visits in total. Feedback on the service is very positive with many people identifying the support they receive through the meetings as a really vital help. One anonymous user of the service says:
‘I know that people say, “Oh you’re a lifesaver”, when something happens. It’s a throwaway comment. But I’ve said it at a support group meeting for real. Aware is my lifesaver – going to my support group every week has kept me going at times I thought I’d never survive. Thanks to all of the people involved for the support and the different suggestions of things I can try that keep me here with my family.’
Aware support groups offer people a safe space where they can talk through particular concerns around depression and learn skills for minimising its impact on their life and relationships. More information on all of Aware’s services is available on www.aware.ie